The New York Times reported over the weekend that CBS is in discussions with CNN's Anderson Cooper about taking over Katie Couric's anchor chair when her contract expires next year. Even before CNN and CBS denied it, I didn't believe the story, for one simple reason: It would be like jumping ship from the Titanic to the Andrea Doria, or maybe vice-versa. Cooper just had his worst month ever in the Nielsens, averaging just over half a million viewers a night in February, his ratings down 59 percent from a year ago. In the advertiser-coveted 25-to-54 age demographic, his fall has been even more abrupt: He's lost 62 percent of his audience from a year ago.
About the only thing you can say on Cooper's behalf is that he's got a lot of company: Larry King and Campbell Brown also had their worst months ever in February. Their plummeting ratings are part of a continuing meltdown at CNN, which has lost more than half its audience in the past year and is now running in fifth place among cable news networks -- behind not only Fox and MSNBC but also HLN and CNBC -- in the demo ratings. As the noted ratings analyst Chubby Checker used to say, how looooow can you goooo? I guess we're going to see.